COVID-19 Research Stories
We’re pleased to present these featured stories focusing on COVID-19 research:
The Fight Continues
Since the pandemic began, researchers at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton have engaged in innovative studies across a variety of disciplines – developing mass testing capabilities, analyzing the efficacy of masking and other safety protocols, testing new and existing interventions for critically-ill COVID-19 patients, examining the mental health repercussions for the lay person and in health care workers, and so much more.
Here are some quick statistics on St. Joe’s COVID-19 research since the start of the pandemic:
COVID-19 Research Studies
Sponsored COVID-19 Research Studies
Value of COVID-19 Research Studies
COVID-19 Invention Disclosures
Units of the McMaster Molecular Medium™ (MMM) Sold
Throughout 2021 and into early 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to have a major impact at our Hospital – from clinical care to research.
Distribution of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine began in January 2021. These were given to a limited cohort due to the short supply. Essential healthcare workers – physicians, nurses, support staff – and researchers working directly on COVID-19 studies were among the first group to receive their vaccinations. This initial group also included seniors living in nursing homes and long-term care residences.
The initial vaccine rollout occurred during Ontario’s second and third waves. Unlike other jurisdictions, the government decided to delay second doses due to the limited supply, allowing more people to receive their first dose. This “first dose first” strategy paid off as case counts leveled off in the summer months.
Did you know?
78 of our affiliated researchers have contributed to COVID-19 research studies since the beginning of the pandemic.
The success of the vaccine program prompted the Hospital to reduce certain restrictions as cases decreased. The Research Institute created a phased approach to guide the return of full on-site research activity at St. Joe’s, which launched in late August 2021.
However, with reduced community restrictions, coupled with the return to in-person learning and a return to in-person work, Ontario’s case numbers began to rise. Despite the vaccine being designed for the original “wild type” SARS-CoV-2 variant, it still showed strong efficacy for the emerging Delta variant that became dominant by the fall of 2021.
But it took a new variant – one with more mutations than the others – to rapidly halt the forward momentum. Omicron took hold in December and saw the highest spike in new infections and hospitalizations. Despite reports that it was generally more mild than other variants, the sheer numbers led to numerous staffing challenges in health care systems across Canada. On December 30, 2021, The Research Institute moved down to Phase 1 in response to the increased risk.
The first couple months of 2022 were marred with uncertainty, with the twin peaks of the fifth and sixth waves looking like a repeat of 2021. However, as cases fell, The Research Institute transitioned to less restrictive phases and ended the fiscal year on a positive trajectory towards lifting all pandemic restrictions.